HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. —A fifth-grade teacher at Tomahawk Intermediate School, was named Berkeley County Schools’ Teacher of the year Monday at Hedgesville High School.
Erin Lloyd Sponaugle was one of five Berkeley County teachers nominated for the award, including two from Martinsburg (W.Va.) High School, one from Hedgesville High School and one from Hedgesville Middle School.
“She is a phenomenal teacher who challenges her students to their highest potential,” McCoy said.
Sponaugle, who earned her National Board Certification in 2010, appeared to be flabbergasted and visibly shaken when Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Manny P. Arvon announced that she was the winner.
She said after the ceremony that she has struggled with speaking in public all of her life so she tries to help her students avoid the difficulties she faced.
Sponaugle received her Bachelor of Arts from Shepherd University in 2003, and received her Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership from West Virginia University in 2009. She began her teaching career in Frederick County, Va., in 2003, before moving to Berkeley County Schools in 2005, where she has been for the last eight years.
Fellow Tomahawk teacher Christina Hogbin said Sponaugle is “everything a teacher should be.
“Teachers like Erin help instill and grow the love of learning in students. She is supportive and understanding. She challenges her students to do better, learn more and reach farther,” Hogbin said in a news release.
The four other nominees were Eric A. Brown, a U.S. History teacher at Hedgesville High School; Renee Haines, a biology teacher at Martinsburg High School; Elaine Unnone, who heads the Fine Arts Department at Martinsburg High, and Margaret E. “MaggieBeth” Ponton, a Hedgesville Middle School music teacher.
Their principals read their biographies.
Ron Lyons, Hedgesville High principal, said Brown challenges his students and makes learning fun. His students “love going to his classes and they respond to his teaching style.”
Martinsburg High Principal Trent Sherman spoke the praises of Haines and Unnone.
Haines, he said, has been teaching at the school since 2001. “She works hard at being the best teacher she can be. Her dedication is evident,” Sherman said.
He said Unnone was a 13-year employee of a national grocery chain when she decided to follow her heart into education. “She pushes to be the best, rolls up her sleeves and jumps in with both feet.”
Elizabeth Adams, Ponton’s principal at Hedgesville Middle School, said Ponton is a National Association of Music Educators member. She directs a ninth-grade handbell ensemble that won a state competition and has appeared on the “Today” show on NBC.
Ponton’s students are allowed to express themselves artistically in her class, including dancing. She is kind and respectful of her students and her number one priority is having them come to school excited, Adams said.
The panel of the competition’s five judges include four previous Berkeley County teachers of the year.
Among them were Beverly Hoffmaster, who was named West Virginia Teacher of the Year in 1992; Valerie Spataro of Rosemont Elementary School; Bernice Collis, a retired teacher who is now vice president of Minghini General Contractors in Martinsburg; and Jodi Lynn B. Kissner, who until Monday was Berkeley County’s Teacher of the year of 2012-13.
Martin Kesecker, the fifth judge, is a vice president at BB&T Bank.